Order of (Room Finishing) Operations

So, good news on the home front is that all of the drywall has been installed in the house except for an inexplicably blank spot around the fireplace. I’m not sure why every contractor leaves just a little bit unfinished for us. Either it’s a sign from the universe, or just plain laziness, but luckily we can take care of it without too much of a problem.

With walls in every room and the attic insulation coming today (or so help me God someone will hear about it) we have four immediate tasks on our list:

  • Install tile board in bath and shower
  • Frame in for the master bath bath
  • Get the geo working
  • Get the beams up to support the porches

That’s at least a weekends worth of work and then there are two holiday weekends which are going to kill our productivity (Christmas and New Years couldn’t fall on a Wednesday this year?) but after that, things get a little fuzzy.

I know I need to be picking things out… tile, flooring, paint colors, but there are no small number of big white rooms in the house–all needing attention–and the truth is, I’m just not sure where to start.

I know that the one big factor that will keep us from moving in is having the plumbing complete, and the plumbing can’t be finished until we’ve got floors in the bathrooms (so the toilets can be set) and cabinets in the bathrooms and kitchen so the sinks can be set. But as much as I like to think I’m superwoman sometimes, I can’t do all the rooms at once, so here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Laundry Room – May seem like a strange place to start, but I’m dying to have a washer and dryer in the house (you can’t imagine how much laundromat time that will save me per month.
  2. Full Bath – I have a better sense of what I’m doing in the full bath, and it will also be less complicated to finish off. Early wins are important, don’t you think?
  3. Master Bath– This is going to be a bigger project, but I think with the full bath under my belt I’ll be in a groove.
  4. Kitchen– I’m not thinking I’ll be finishing the kitchen, by any means, but with the base cabinets in and a temporary counter, I could have the plumbing finished and we could start thinking about moving in
  5. Bedroom– Other than some fancy tile around the fireplace (and who says that needs to be done to move in?) the bedroom will just need a little texture on the walls, and maybe some paint, if we’re feeling crazy. Obviously I’ve got bigger plans in the long run, but right now I’d be happy with something besides a folding chair to sit on
  6. Living room – The living room has a stone fireplace to tackle, and a wood ceiling– it won’t be easy, but once this room is done we’ll have a lot more space to spread out in
  7. Study – At some point I’m going to have to move my computer out of the bedroom. I’m thinking about continuing with a different version of the wood ceiling in here, but furnishing it will be the real challenge.
  8. Kitchen– Back to the kitchen to put in the island and finish things off right.
  9. Mudroom– This is my favorite room already– the only one I can see completed in my head, but not the most important functionally, so it will have to wait.
  10. Spare Bedrooms – Unlikely we’ll have guests while the place is still a construction zone but eventually someone might want to come stay with us.

I gave up any hope of actually moving into the house before spring (although we may be able to move some stuff out of our 400 sq ft garage-apartment and into the house, which would be something) and I’d bet we’ll be finishing up the kitchen no earlier than August– I’ve got a deck, some railings, and a garden that will need some tending next summer, after all.

And since having a clear vision before I start is going to be important to having some sense of continuity throughout the house when it’s finished, over the next week or two I’ll be posting some detailed thoughts about each room.

What do you guys think… bathrooms before laundry room, bedroom before kitchen? My hope is that by not rushing myself I’ll take the time to do things like put the trim on, because if I don’t it will be years before I get it done.

Let the fun begin!

10 Responses

  1. Drywall missing around your fireplace could be the same as the missing drywall around your tub and shower areas….if your tiling around it or applying manufactured stone, then they need back board/cement board…..since it is a fireplace I’d put cement board.

    1. Right Dave, that would have been my thought too except I just walked through and talked to them about where we’re putting tile board last week… I asked them about needing it around the fireplace since I’m putting up cultured stone, and they said drywall was acceptable. Funny that they basically talked me into it and then didn’t do it.

      (Drywall is acceptable, I read, with tar paper, mesh, and thinset… personally I thought tile board would be a better option as well, which is why I didn’t totally flip my lid.)

      1. I only say tile board because the moisture content in the mortar, tar paper… blah never use the stuff …..tons of better products out there.

        Besides call me crazy, But I like putting non combustible things around anything with the word “fire” attached to it. I personally would have used steel studs around the fireplaces, put up cement board and then finished it off with tile or stone or whatever.

  2. Best piece of advice I can offer you relative to planning ahead – DON’T GET PREGNANT.

    Otherwise, I would go for absolute necessities. Laundry room included! Good luck, girl!

  3. 1) Running water in kitchen, bath and laundry room would always be my first priority. So those rooms would have to be what I would work on getting as close to *done* as possible. They are the most used rooms in every home.
    2) Counters in kitchen to be able to use microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker and sit at and eat if needs dictate. So at very least base cabinets and counters and the frig and dishwasher 😉
    3) An entry with closet or lots of storage to drop all the crap from unfinished projects and real job. i.e. mudroom
    4) For me a living room is the place to watch tv, sleep on the couch and have wifi or internet connection. Finished ceiling is way way down the list.
    5) Bedroom is where the bed is. Bed, bedding, no mice I’m good to go.

    You will be working on your house for the rest of your life, so do the things that will let you get in there–really living in it and enjoying the house for what it is a labor of love. Good luck!

  4. When we moved in 2 years ago getting the washer and dryer in was done within a few weeks. I was SO sick of trucking our laundry to my parent’s houses so I insisted that we move it WAY up on the list. I know it seems stupid, but getting to toss your shit in the laundry at home and not having to worry about staying there, people in your things, or having to stop over at someone’s house/the laundromat is a WONDERFUL thing. Full laundry steam ahead! I say at least 🙂

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